For us any conservation project starts with two questions; what is it, and what is its significance? These answers usually shine a light on paths to dealing with a building needing care and possible intervention. Investigations into form and materials often require painstaking research, as well as careful consultation and consideration, as does the problem of assessing significance.

Once a problem has been defined, the design solution follows. Sometimes the solution may be to do nothing and monitor, but if an intervention is required, Barton Engineers have the necessary expertise in a wide range of materials, built forms, techniques, and periods of construction that help us design that intervention. For us conservation practice is a design process that is not separate from other disciplines; the best building conservation requires just as much creativity and ingenuity as any other form of design work. Building conservation is never just the application of principles followed by technique.

However, conservation does requires a philosophy, which for us is about attempting to do some or all of the following;

• Make minimal interventions. 
• Conserve as found, not generally to restore.
• Use appropriate materials.
• Express solutions honestly. 
• Make sympathetic solutions. 
• Make solutions that can be reversed in future.

Because of its specialist nature, we often find it appropriate to offer a full design and contract administration service for our conservation work, including;

• Surveys and assessments of structure and fabric
• Heritage statements
• Listed building consent applications
• Project administration, management, and financial planning and costing
• Conservation management plans

The conservation work of the practice is led by Bob Barton, who is a graduate of the Architectural Association’s Conservation of Historic Buildings diploma course, and who has many years experience working in the conservation sector. Bob Barton leads the work of the practice for clients such as The National Gallery, The De La Warr Pavilion Trust, Berkshire College of Agriculture, and Birkbeck University of London. As well as working with listed buildings he is both proud and amused that he played a significant part in designing one; The Schlumberger Cambridge Research building by Michael Hopkins Architects, completed in 1985 and which is now Grade 2* Listed.
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